Netflix now supports HDR video on mobile devices

11 May 2017 | Rasmus Larsen |

Netflix has started rolling out HDR video support to Android smartphones such as the LG G6 and Samsung Galaxy S8. You can watch all of the Marvel series in HDR.

HDR video on smartphones

In March 2017, at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, LG, Sony, and Samsung introduced smartphones and tablets with HDR screens. At the event, Netflix also promised to offers HDR video streaming to such devices.

Netflix’s HDR videos can now be enjoyed on select Android devices. The first device to officially support it is the LG G6 smartphone. It supports Dolby Vision but as we noted in our article from MWC, the G6’s edge-lit LCD display is unlikely to impress when it comes to HDR.

One owner of Samsung’s Galaxy S8 confirms that Netflix’s HDR also works his phone so it is not limited to LG G6 at launch. Galaxy S8 supports only the HDR10 format, but features an OLED display, which should deliver a much more impressive HDR experience.

- “Today, users can watch shows like Santa Clarita Diet, Chef's Table, The OA and all of the Marvel series in HDR,” Netflix’s CEO Reed Hastings during MWC 2017.

Netflix iPad

OLED displays required

Netflix offers both HDR10 and Dolby Vision steaming on TVs and now mobile devices. To enable the feature on your Android device you need to have the Netflix app updated to version 5.0, the company said. You also need a subscription to Netflix's most expensive plan.

This is of course only the beginning. HDR can improve picture quality on any device through an expanded dynamic range and a larger color gamut. However, it requires the right hardware, which means an OLED display in the case of mobile devices.

While LCD TVs can employ local dimming zones to enable HDR, such mechanisms are not possible in mobile devices due to factors relating to thickness and power consumption. The UHD Alliance has a created a certification program called ‘Mobile HDR Premium’, which recognizes this fact. Only smartphones and tablets with OLED displays capable of reproducing .0005 to 540 nits brightness and at least 90% DCI-P3 color gamut can obtain the certification.

Besides Netflix, providers such Amazon, Vudu, and YouTube offer streaming in HDR video. Amazon has announced that it will offer HDR video on Samsung Galaxy S8 but has not confirmed a date.

- Source: Netflix

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